March 30, 2021

Episode 51: 'The Capitol Mob and their Cell Phones'

[Cross-posted from What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law]

By Elizabeth Joh

On Jan. 6, a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol to try to stop the certification of the presidential election results. Many of the insurrectionists will be tracked down and charged with crimes, in part, because their cell phones placed them in the Capitol building during the attack.

The case of Carpenter v. United States is the closest the Supreme Court has come to weighing in on the matter of historical cell phone data, but the decision didn’t offer an opinion on law enforcement’s use of a location-specific cell phone tower data dump without an individual suspect in mind. This brings up questions about the way warrants usually work under the Fourth Amendment. Listen to episode 51 of What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law.

March 22, 2021

Just one Supreme Court case could blow up unions, child protection and anti-discrimination law

[Cross-posted from The Washington Post]

By Aaron Tang

Aaron Tang is a professor at the University of California, Davis School of Law. He was a law clerk to Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

On March 22, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a seemingly minor labor-law dispute with potentially sweeping ramifications. Although the case itself concerns a mundane California agricultural regulation, a decision could threaten fundamental laws governing organized labor, child safety, nursing-home inspections — and even laws forbidding stores and restaurants from discriminating.

The case, Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid, involves a decades-old California regulation that grants union organizers temporary access to an agricultural employer’s property — during non-working hours — to communicate with workers about their right to organize.

A pair of California fruit producers are challenging this access in the Supreme Court, contending that it amounts to an uncompensated “taking” of their property, forbidden under the Fifth Amendment. But California is not taking their property at all. Unlike the paradigmatic situation where government appropriates private property for its own use, California’s regulation merely grants union organizers a narrow license to meet with workers — without interrupting the employer’s operations.

The fruit producers are thus left to make a different — and far more sweeping — argument. They assert that the access regulation is a taking because it prevents them from excluding people that they just don’t like. And this “right to exclude unwanted persons,” they contend, is “so universally held to be a fundamental element of the property right that it cannot be infringed without compensation.” If the Supreme Court agrees, the upshot would be staggering.

Start with the effects on union organizing across the nation. The ability to access employer property is vital not only to California agricultural unions but also to millions of employees who enjoy the right to organize under the National Labor Relations Act. In 1945, the Supreme Court held that this law grants pro-union employees the same right at issue here: the ability to access an employer’s property outside of work hours for the narrow purpose of union organizing. Yet if the court holds that the takings clause permits property owners to exclude any unwanted person, employers could cripple unions by blocking employees from organizing on their premises.

The dispute threatens havoc just as great outside the union context. Consider state laws that permit child protection inspectors to make unannounced home visits. Now suppose a homeowner suspected of abuse or neglect wants to keep the inspector out. Under the challengers’ logic, such individuals would have a Fifth Amendment right to do so — unless the government paid the suspected abuser to access the property. The same problem would ensnare nursing home visits and food safety inspections.

Perhaps most glaring of all, the case threatens to blast a giant hole through the heart of anti-discrimination law. Federal law forbids stores, restaurants and other public accommodations to refuse service on the basis of a customer’s race. A number of states protect LGBTQ persons from similar discrimination.

Yet if Cedar Point creates a right to eject all “unwanted persons” from one’s property in the absence of a government payout, states and the federal government would face an impossible choice: raise taxes so that they can pay untold sums of money for every instance an LGBTQ person or person of color enters a storefront that belongs to a discriminatory owner, or call off the crucial project of eradicating societal discrimination.

There is reason to worry what the Supreme Court’s newly bolstered conservative majority will do. Just three years ago, in Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, the conservative justices struck a blow against organized labor when they overturned a decades-old precedent and invalidated state laws permitting public sector unions to charge “fair share fees” to non-union workers.

But there is also cause for optimism that the justices will follow an emerging pattern, which I’ve called the “least harm principle,” in which they consider which side could best withstand a ruling against it. This approach points to a clear outcome in Cedar Point given the asymmetrical nature of the case.

While a ruling against the unions would leave them unable to communicate with seasonal employees who often lack cellphones and permanent addresses, a ruling against the employers would leave them with other, existing avenues for legal redress. Under longstanding Supreme Court precedent, property owners can assert a different kind of takings claim, known as a “regulatory taking,” under which they may be entitled to compensation if a regulation is especially burdensome. That case-by-case approach, as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote recently, finds the proper “balance between property owners’ rights and the government’s authority to advance the common good.”

The fruit growers never even attempted to make this argument. The likeliest reason is as cynical as it is obvious: Whereas a regulatory takings claim might have entitled them to some compensation if California’s law actually imposed an onerous burden, winning on that ground would have done nothing to eviscerate organized labor around the nation.

The radical character of the challengers’ lawsuit should give the justices pause. The court should decline the fruit producers’ plea to constitutionalize a sweeping power to exclude “unwanted persons” — and remind them of the rights they already enjoy.

March 15, 2021

Defend the public defenders

[Cross-posted from The Atlantic]

By Irene Oritseweyinmi Joe

Public defense might be one of the rare professions in which doing one’s job too well can lead to being fired. The reasons for this are structural—public defenders are tasked with an obligation they cannot fulfill without upsetting those tasked with helping them fulfill it—and the system can be fixed structurally: by creating a state-level office whose job it is to defend public defenders.

Consider the case of two public defenders from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, Dean Beer and Keisha Hudson, who say they were fired last year after filing an amicus brief describing as unacceptable and unconstitutional court decisions regarding bail that harmed their clients. (The county board responsible for their firing has not publicly commented on the personnel matter and did not respond to a request for comment on that matter for this story. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, a letter from the county executive to Beer also cites the brief as cause, among other concerns—in particular, that Beer and Hudson had misused resources the previous summer when they assigned interns to review police officers’ social-media accounts for racist language, an accusation Hudson described as a pretext.)

At the time, Beer and Hudson were the highest-ranking attorneys in the Montgomery County office, considered one of the most effective public-defender offices in the state. But, like many public defenders around the country, Beer and Hudson were at the mercy of other actors, like the judges or attorneys general who lead the state judicial and executive branches. In many cases, these actors are responsible for providing the very resources necessary for public defenders to do their job. This relationship creates a conflict whereby a public defender can face retaliation for protecting their client’s rights against abuse or misbehavior. For the public-defense system to work more equitably, a public defender’s ability to hold on to their job should not depend on the same people they challenge in court.

In their amicus brief, Beer and Hudson notified the state supreme court that local judges were assigning excessive and unwarranted bail amounts to certain indigent defendants. The attorneys listed some bail decisions that might shock even the most casual observer of the criminal process. One bail was set at $50,000 for a nursing teen mother accused of a first offense, which resulted in her staying in jail without accommodations for pumping and preserving her breast milk. This minor did not have an attorney present at the bail determination; when an attorney was finally provided, more than two weeks later, the court declined a motion to reduce bail, noting that the minor could express her milk by hand. Both human decency and the rules of professional responsibility governing the legal profession support public defenders’ ability to make appellate courts aware of situations like these. Beer and Hudson’s reward for defending their clients, however, was losing their jobs. One judge demanded an apology and a public statement from Beer, and the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners abruptly fired them both.

Working as a public defender can be like walking a tightrope. Attorneys are constitutionally required to provide effective representation to their clients, ethically required to do so as officers of the court, and subject to the ordinary human desire to keep their jobs. Other actors in the criminal process complicate the public defender’s ability to do each of these things. At times, courts set restrictive and unconstitutional bail, show little patience for the time it takes attorneys to investigate and prepare cases, and fail to hold prosecutors accountable. Prosecutors sometimes bring so many cases that public defenders cannot meaningfully represent every client they are assigned, and then use this tactic to move cases quickly through the criminal process. Then, the leaders of the institutions within the executive and judicial branches of government can fire or reassign a public defender when they are displeased with his or her work. It can be a vicious cycle, where a public defender is fighting a battle against the very entity that must provide that public defender with the resources and support it needs to do so. So who defends public defenders when they are faced with serious consequences for challenging the decisions of opposing actors, when those very actors oversee the public-defender institution?

Most states house the public defender under either the judicial or executive branch, and each placement provides its own unique challenges. The executive branch has a clearly articulated objective of enforcing a jurisdiction’s laws. This role is in some ways similar to the public defender’s role of ensuring that law enforcement complies with both constitutional and statutory law, but it also contradicts the mandate of the public defender to protect the individuals charged with violating those laws.

The state judicial branch is tasked with advancing the resolution of the courtroom process neutrally, efficiently, and fairly. This role can sometimes lead courts to deprioritize the public defender’s needs in larger decisions about the courtroom process, as when judges feel they must support the requests of others involved in the criminal process, such as prosecutors and victims. Courts can also punish the public defender who acts in a manner inconsistent with the court’s view of how the process should evolve.

In order to see the dynamics at play, it is crucial to understand how the modern conception of the public defender originated. The institution was developed through a series of Supreme Court cases in the 1930s and ’40s interpreting the Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel. The process culminated in the 1963 Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright, which held that indigent defendants accused of felonies in state court must be appointed counsel. But in practice, that right can lose its efficacy at the whim of other actors in the criminal process who have conflicting interests.

One consequence of this system is chronic underfunding with limited paths for redress. For example, Bennett J. Baur, the chief public defender for the New Mexico Law Offices of the Public Defender, an institution managed through the state judicial branch, recognized his professional duty to ensure legal representation for all qualified defendants. Lack of adequate funding, however, created a difficult choice: provide representation that was constitutionally and ethically deficient, or risk the ire of the system’s management (and possibly his job) by not providing any representation to some defendants. When Baur’s funding requests were denied, he chose the latter option, and ordered one of his county offices to stop accepting new clients. A New Mexico district-court judge deemed Baur’s refusal to represent indigent clients a violation of a court order to participate in the criminal process and held him in contempt of court.

The obvious solution would be to make the public defender an independent institution, so it could define its own structure to best suit the needs of its client base without fear of reprisal. But doing so would overlook the need to secure funding in a government system where all actors must compete for limited resources. While the public defender plays an important role in the criminal-justice system and protects the rights of the public at large, its influence and political efficacy are often smaller in comparison to other executive or judicial agents. To secure a seat at the table, the public-defender institution requires an authoritative presence that can effectively pursue its agenda within the state structure.

Instead of asking for pure independence, public defenders should seek a protector, a state actor that possesses a degree of independence but is also able to effectively advocate for the institution. This actor’s primary responsibility would be to ensure that public defenders receive the resources they need to comply with constitutional and ethical duties. The position would also challenge the leadership in its assigned branch, including identifying practices that hinder public defenders’ ability to do their job and holding other actors accountable in the larger system.

Fortunately, the nation already has a model in place for such a position: the inspector general. Established by statute in 1978, the inspector general is a relatively independent government office tasked with neutrally assessing whether members of the executive branch have violated constitutional principles. The public-defender version could notify the court of constitutional and ethical violations related to the delivery of public-defender services. This position would also reaffirm the role of the public defender as a protector of the general public, as it serves as a check on the government’s intrusion into a citizen’s life through the criminal process.

Indeed, this watchdog role was at the heart of the creation of the public-defender institution. As the Court noted in Gideon, “From the very beginning, our state and national constitutions and laws have laid great emphasis on procedural and substantive safeguards designed to assure fair trials before impartial tribunals … This noble ideal cannot be realized if the poor man charged with crime has to face his accusers without a lawyer to assist him.” To fully realize that early vision, the institution requires structural changes, including the addition of a leader in an inspector-general role. This person would ensure that the attorneys who safeguard clients’ rights are provided for and are safe from reprisal for doing so—in other words, they would protect the protector.

When the state wields its power against a defendant in a criminal proceeding, the defendant uses the Sixth Amendment as a shield. After a conviction, the amendment transforms into a sword, as the defendant can bring a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel to challenge their conviction on appeal. The public-defender institution needs a similar system to protect clients’ rights. Reorganizing to more securely place itself in one of the state branches of government while also adding a defensive entity would allow the institution to exist in a more stable and effective manner.

Dean Beer and Keisha Hudson did exactly what the Constitution and professional rules mandate. This form of advocacy is critical to achieving the kind of reform protesters are currently demanding, calling attention to the racism and classism that have permeated the criminal-justice arena for centuries. The lack of an entity to address the attorneys’ dismissal is a fundamental flaw in a system meant to protect the powerless from the powerful. Fixing this flaw will protect not just public defenders, but their clients, too.

This story is part of the project “The Battle for the Constitution,” in partnership with the National Constitution Center.

March 5, 2021

Local Taxes Have Lots of Untapped Potential

[Cross-posted from The Recorder]

By Darien Shanske and David A. Carrillo

Help may be coming at long last from the federal government, but California local governments are likely to face fiscal challenges as a result of the pandemic and recession for a long time. After all, many of those local governments faced major issues before the current crisis. It turns out that a 2017 decision by the California Supreme Court might offer some communities the ability to help themselves.

When the California Supreme Court decided California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland (2017) 3 Cal.5th 924, we — and others — argued that the court opened the door for local initiative measures to adopt special taxes by majority vote rather than the supermajority that ordinarily applies to taxes. The issue of whether local tax initiatives can be passed by majority vote has now been litigated in three court of appeal decisions, and our prediction is coming true: All three decisions expressly adopted a majority vote rule for local special tax initiatives.

In City and County of San Francisco v. All Persons Interested in Proposition C (2020) 51 Cal.App.5th 703, 61% of the local voters approved a proposed initiative tax. Opponents argued that California constitution Article XIII A, Section 4 and Article XIII C, Section 2(d) (Proposition 13 and Proposition 218, which require special taxes proposed by local governments to be approved by two-thirds of the voting electorate) applied to special taxes adopted by local initiative. Following Upland’s reasoning, the court of appeal relied on the electorate’s reserved initiative power to reject that argument and held that local voters may exercise their initiative power to adopt a special tax by a simple majority. The same issue was presented in City of Fresno v. Fresno Building Healthy Communities (2020) 58 Cal.App.5th 884, and Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association v. City and County of San Francisco (A157983). Both decisions adopted the reasoning in San Francisco and adopted the majority vote rule for local special tax initiatives.

All three decisions were unanimous, and the court of appeal published all three decisions. That makes them the only controlling law on this issue, so Superior Court judges have little choice but to follow them. And absent an appellate division split, the California Supreme Court is unlikely to disturb these rulings. Indeed, the state high court denied review in San Francisco; a review petition is pending in Fresno; and the court of appeal denied rehearing in Howard Jarvis.

These rulings are correct; they are natural extensions of Upland and properly build on doctrine that preexisted Upland. Courts have long held that the initiative power is not subject to the same constraints that apply to local governments or the legislature and have historically been skeptical of two-thirds vote requirements.

The San Francisco decision noted that two-thirds requirements must be “strictly construed” in the initiative context due to the “fundamentally undemocratic nature of the requirement for an extraordinary majority.” That principle derives from City and County of San Francisco v. Farrell (1982) 32 Cal.3d 47—a decision that was overturned by Proposition 218. Relying on Farrell now shows both how skeptical courts are of supermajority requirements, and how compelling the judicial imperative to jealously guard the initiative power is. Look for this skepticism of supermajority voting rules in future initiative cases.

The concern about supermajority requirements partly flows from the fact that the simple majority rule for initiatives has been in effect from direct democracy’s inception. Since then California voters have permitted just three modifications to their direct democracy powers—and none of those changes reduced their powers. It would be a significant departure from that history for the initiative power to be limited by the voters, which is another reason we think the court in Upland was correct to hold that such a limitation “require[s] clear evidence of an intended purpose to constrain exercise of the initiative power.”

This trend is also consistent with the California Supreme Court’s treatment of local control over taxation. Unlike many states, the California Supreme Court has interpreted a charter city’s home rule power to extend to taxation. Our state high court has also interpreted the initiative power broadly in the taxation context. Though it would not be an outright contradiction to apply a supermajority rule to local tax initiatives, it would be at least incongruous for the courts to take away the local electorate’s power over taxation after recognizing the importance of local control over finances in these related contexts.

We think the more interesting question is not whether a court should or would depart from these three decisions, but how their implications can be harnessed to make life better for Californians. The initiative power is explicitly granted to counties and cities, but not to school district electorates. Yet there is a strong argument that school district voters retain the initiative power and could pass tax measures by majority vote. It would be even better, of course, if the legislature gave school district voters this power by statute. It would be better still if the legislature also expressly permitted local governments to impose tiered parcel taxes so local voters could approve measures that do a better job of spreading the tax burden.

We understand that extending the Upland reasoning has already stirred up some opposition, even a threat of a constitutional amendment imposing a supermajority rule on local voters. But, as we have argued, it’s not clear that Upland can be undone that way. Upland’s clear statement rule is, we think, predicated on the notion that certain powers are reserved for the local electorate. And thus the state electorate could not change the power of local voters unless the change resulted from a constitutional revision. As a result, we think the power of local voters to impose taxes on themselves by majority vote using the initiative power is here to stay.

March 5, 2021

Follow the science: Schools can reopen safely

[Cross-posted from the San Francisco Chronicle]

By Dennis J. Ventry, Jr., Monica Gandhi and Deborah Simon-Weisberg

Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders have unveiled another plan to prod public schools across California to reopen. It provides $2 billion to districts that resume in-person instruction by March 31, another $4.6 billion to address learning loss, and punishes districts that fail to reopen by the deadline.

The plan is bound to fail.

It will fail for the same reason other plans, perks, and persuasion have misfired over the last 12 months: It provides no money and no strategy to overcome the kind of false and unscientific thinking that closed schools a year ago. And because the plan avoids mandating the number of days and hours a school must open to receive new funds, it permits the forces peddling pseudoscience to scare administrators, teachers, and parents into embracing a hybrid model (part in-person, part remote) that would be even worse than what we have now.

A year ago, with scant knowledge of a novel pathogen, the thinking was that kids would be the primary drivers of COVID-19, while schools would be super-spreaders and school closures would save lives. “We were wrong,” says Dr. Jeanne Noble, head of the UCSF Emergency Department’s COVID-19 Response. After intensive research and study, the scientific consensus is that adults are the primary drivers of the virus, and schools can be sanctuaries with significantly lower infection rates than surrounding communities. Moreover, low school rates mean low to zero school-to-home rates.

But some players in the open school debate continue to advocate as if it were March 2020.

The head of the Berkeley Federation of Teachers, Matt Meyer, recently articulated this unscientific thinking. Schoolchildren “play a significant role spreading infections,” and “act as vectors for transmission,” Meyer falsely stated. He also cited a CDC report indicating in-school transmissions can be controlled in communities with low rates of spread. He was right about that. But he ignored the CDC’s more important finding that even in communities with high rates of spread (i.e., 100/100,000 daily cases), in-school transmissions can be close to zero. Inexplicably, Mr. Meyer says Berkeley teachers won’t return to classrooms until Alameda County’s rate falls below 4/100,000 (it is 8.2/100,000, and falling).

This thinking not only ignores science, but the experience of open schools.

Private schools in the Bay Area have been open since last fall, with preschools open earlier, safely educating and caring for the kids of parents across the state. In Marin County, schools have been open since September with over 1 million in-person “student days” and zero student-to-teacher transmissions. In San Francisco, private schools have taught in-person classes to K-12 students for 6 months also with zero student-to-teacher transmissions. Studies report similar findings across the country, even in communities with significantly higher case rates than the Bay Area.

In short, a year into the pandemic we know unequivocally that schools can reopen safely to in-person full-time learning. Key mitigation strategies are essential, and include universal masking, social distancing, basic hand hygiene, and proper ventilation focused on open doors and windows and eating outside. In fact, proper masking for teachers (cloth mask over medical mask or medical mask with knotted ear loops and tucked-in sides) combined with sufficient distancing (3 feet rather than 6 feet) is as effective as vaccines in reducing COVID transmissions. Mitigation procedures are complementary so a stronger mask will allow less distancing. And once teachers are vaccinated, social distancing will be even less necessary since vaccines are so protective against severe disease and definitively decrease transmissionPresident Biden and Governor Newsom both have committed to vaccinating teachers this month.

We also know what is not required to reopen schools safely: universal child COVID testing; keeping kids 6-feet apart at all times; low community case rates; or infrastructure changes.

Yet these realities are muted in the debate to reopen schools, and nowhere to be found in Newsom’s new plan. Without an educative component, there is no counterpoint to the false and unscientific claims of powerful forces.

The head of the California Teachers Association, E. Toby Boyd, insists that schools will remain closed until every teacher is vaccinated. At the same time, Mr. Boyd has falsely questioned the efficacy of those vaccinations. He’s further falsely claimed that “all research” shows that universal testing of teachers and students is required for safely reopening schools.

This is not true. Vaccinating and testing are not prerequisites to reopening schools, although vaccination will lead to uncompromised safety for teachers in the school setting, which we support. The efficacy rate for preventing hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 is 100% for all three vaccines now deployed in the United States. Vaccines are also effective against coronavirus variants, and banish any doubt about opening schools.

Meanwhile, the harm unleashed on California schoolchildren mounts. “Every place you look—signs of social phobia and isolation all the way up to suicide attempts — screams crisis,” says Dr. Noble of UCSF. Local hospitals report the devastation: twice as many kids requiring mental health services: 75% more requiring immediate hospitalization; a 130% increase in kids hospitalized for eating disorders; child psychiatry beds full; the highest number of suicidal children on record. And that’s just those who make it to hospitals; for others, the mental illness wins.

Beyond the crushing emotional toll of closed schools, reports indicate potentially insurmountable educational deficits. These include substantial learning loss among California schoolchildren in English and math with a disparate impact on low-income, English-learner, and underrepresented students (herehere). One study estimates that while all students could lose 5-9 months of learning by June 2021, students of color could lose 6-12 months.

The academic slide will have lifelong impacts on “a lost generation of students.” In combination with the crisis in students’ mental health, closed schools “will be a worse pandemic than COVID.”

The scientific consensus long abandoned its thinking of March 2020. Those hawking pseudoscience have not. Renewed efforts to open California’s public schools need to advocate a year’s worth of science so that the same thinking that closed schools a year ago doesn’t win again.

UC Davis Law Professor Dennis J. Ventry, Jr. Ph.D., JD is the parent of a Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) student. Monica Gandhi M.D., MPH is a professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases Doctor at UCSF. Deborah Simon-Weisberg MD is the parent of a special education student in the BUSD and the program director of the Family Medicine Residency Program at Lifelong Medical Care.

March 1, 2021

This is a good time for the Legislature to invest in California by taxing large, profitable corporations

[Cross-posted from CalMatters]

By Reuven S. Avi-Yonah, David Gamage and Darien Shanske

A year into the COVID-19 crisis, the gap between corporate profits and economic security for the average American is wider than ever. Since March 2020, 45 out of 50 of America’s largest companies have made a profit and in some cases the profit has been quite substantial

Meanwhile, unemployment in California increased dramatically in 2020, from 5.5% in March to 9% in December. Many more Californians have been thrown into housing instability, worsening an already urgent issue. 

Reversing the housing crisis and addressing homelessness in particular will require large and regular investments. Assembly Bill 71, introduced by Democratic Assemblymember Luz Rivas, is a bold step to making these investments and takes into consideration that California has a lot of needs, and its current budget surplus is not expected to last. Hence, AB 71 funds itself by means of a targeted tax increase that will be paid for only by the largest corporations best able to pay.

This is an appropriate revenue source, as corporations have paid an ever smaller share of their profits in taxes over the last several decades. Some of this decline was the result of deliberate decisions: Between 1980 and 1997 California lawmakers cut the corporate tax rate from 9.6% to 8.84% – and it hasn’t changed since then. 

Bottom of Form

This decline in taxes paid by large corporations was also because the state failed to act as certain very profitable corporations got cannier about exploiting major loopholes that allow them to avoid paying taxes even further.  

Corporate tax avoidance is so rampant that even the 2017 tax bill, which was loaded with breaks for large corporations and the wealthy, included several provisions meant to combat these loopholes. In particular, the Trump tax bill established a methodology to both identify and tax income improperly shifted out of the U.S. tax base.  This income is known by the acronym “GILTI,” which stands for Global Intangible Low-Taxed Income.

Restoring California’s corporate tax rate to 9.6% on corporations making more than $5 million in profits per year, as well as taxing the shifted income known as GILTI, are two sensible tax reforms that on their own are projected to provide sufficient funds for AB 71’s robust approach to reversing the cycle of homelessness.  

Don’t buy the scare tactics of multinational corporations threatening to move their headquarters from California because of this bill. California’s corporate income tax is based on sales made in California and applies regardless of whether a corporation has its headquarters in California or elsewhere. Thus, bolstering California’s corporate income tax would not create any incentives for California-based corporations to move out of the state.

Even before the pandemic, it made excellent sense to ask our largest and most profitable corporations to pay as much as they did in the 1980s. Given the state’s current urgent needs, what was once a good idea is now vital for the future health of our state.

March 1, 2021

Episode 50: 'Deplatforming and Section 230'

[Cross-posted from What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law]

By Elizabeth Joh

Following the Jan. 6 riot at the United States Capitol, the major social media platforms banned former President Donald Trump, and many accounts related to far-right conspiracy theories. In response, conservative activists have called for the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, saying it would prevent “censorship” of right-wing viewpoints in the future. But what does Section 230 actually say? How are the social media companies determining what can be on their platforms? Listen to episode 50 of the What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law podcast.